How dictators under-develop nations

A dictator’s dream is never to have opposition to their rule and to muzzle any dissent as brutally as possible. This allows them to plunder, loot, pillage and ransack unchallenged. Through a close-knit patronage system, dictators set up a web of institutions to support their stay in power, usually through whatever means necessary.

Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the dictator who ruled Togo from 1967 to 2005.
Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the dictator who ruled Togo from 1967 to 2005.

When dictators unfortunately meet their fate, their regrets are mainly to have been surrounded by yes-men who plunged the nation into unending trouble. These dictators continue to show disregard for the people’s socio-economic aspirations, closing all avenues for the ordinary people’s survival but lining the pockets of elites who benefit from corrupt schemes.

From the historical dictators of Europe, Asia and the Americas to the modern-day African strongmen, dictatorships continue to provide a source of unending pain for suffering citizens. They continue to see nationals from the afflicted nations failing to express themselves, living paupers’ lives and struggling to even interact with the outside world.

In some cases, dictators have taken a dynastic approach to consolidation of power with Togo, Gabon and Swaziland three examples of African countries that continue to suffer under a dynastic hegemony. North Korea and Cuba provide some of the global focal points for such an approach to dictatorships. Togo is still haunted by the ghost of the Eyadéma dynasty. From 1967 to 2005, Gnassingbé Eyadéma misruled Togo until his sudden death. During his time, opposition was not tolerated and several reports including an Amnesty International report on the June 1998 elections showed that many people died as a result of Eyadéma’s victimization.

After 38 years in power, the death of Gnassingbé only brought his son Faure to the fore. Despite the insatiable appetite of the Togolese for Democracy, Faure Gnassingbé continues to be a stumbling block even victimizing and arresting his own brother for plotting a coup against him.

The last absolute monarchy in Africa, Swaziland, continues to visit untold violence on its people. Through an unrepentant Mswati III, Swaziland is being pulled in the direction of a merciless state which shows total disregard for the will of its citizens. The opposition is banned and its leaders brutalized and victimized.

Students have not been spared either as student leaders continue to bear the brunt of Mswati’s ruthlessness. Before a planned demonstration by the Swazi people against Mswati’s Rule on April 11, Maxwell Dlamini, a student leader, was pre-emptively arrested. He is still incarcerated on a charge of possessing explosives.

Dictatorships are not synonymous with prosperity. They lead to serious underdevelopment in all sectors of society. Even claims that they provide stability do not hold as people become despondent, restless and angry. African students do not deserve despotic rulers of such proportions and the struggle to dislodge these men will be waged wherever dictators decide to perch.

Post published in: Africa News

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